In recognition of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I am requesting every reader to take this pledge to heart and share it most liberally:
“I pledge to support the growth of a mentally healthy community, to be open and honest about mental health issues, and to be a positive presence surrounding all circumstances involving mental wellness.
“I can make a difference by learning about mental health issues and the devastating effects of stigma. I commit to educating myself and my peers about the resources available to promote mental wellness because it is important. I will not perpetuate or tolerate stigma of any kind and will commit myself to changing the way society views people living with mental health issues.
“I support the promotion of a welcoming environment and a stigma free community because it is likely that someone I know is living with a mental health issue and that fear of stigma may be preventing them from seeking help.
“If someone I know exhibits sudden changes in behavior, I will pay attention and reach out to them. If someone I know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, I will take it seriously and make every effort to ensure they get help.
“I understand that mental illness is a no-fault medical condition and I will try to use person-first language when referring to a person dealing with mental health issues by making comments such as ‘my friend with bipolar disorder’ rather than ‘my bipolar friend.’
“I understand that a healthy community involves BOTH mental/emotional and physical health and I will strive to work on promoting both — in myself and my community.”
Susan Gabay lives in Mosier.